First of all, I just want you to know, that you too can get perfectly crisp fish skin EVERYTIME!
Want to know my trick? It’s simple and will definitely be a game changer. In order to have the fish perfect (not overcooked) and the skin crispy we HAVE to remove the skin! I know…so easy! I only remove the skin in the pan when we have cooked it down for about a minute so that it comes off easily.
Don’t try and remove it when the fish is raw and firmly attached, you will see in the video all I do it pick it up with my tongs and it literally peels off. You would have to use a fish filleting knife to get it off raw.
In this recipe I’m using salmon, but any fish can be used and the method remains the same. I switch between pea or butterbean mash…just to keep it interesting!
180g fish, skin on, per person
Salt and pepper to season
This is my favourite recipe for when I am entertaining because it is practically stress free! A beautiful piece of fish or salmon needs little masking and if cooked perfectly, will simply shine!
The trick is to cook the fish properly and get the skin sexy and crispy. Soggy fish skin is never sexy and will You need to get your pan or BBQ SWEAR WORD HOT and greased with about 5 ml vegetable or rice bran oil in the pan just so that the fish doesn’t stick.
When the pan is hot, place the fish (not skin side) presentation side down, and use your tongs to make sure it doesn’t stick…I just give the piece a little wiggle to make sure it hasn’t stuck but will create a sexy crust of flavour and colour.
When the first side is brown (simply look underneath and lift with your tongs) turn it over to do the skin side too. After about a minute or two you should be able to remove the skin using the tongs. Don’t stress if it breaks or you have to strip-peel it off, it is all part of the rustic glamour of this dish! Place the skin aside and then turn the now skin-free side down to brown it off. When the fish is cooked (check by placing a fork or knife in the centre of the thickest part and if it flakes when you twist it is done!)
Remove from the pan and now lower the heat and fry the skin nice and hot but not so hot that it burns in a flash…this will dry and crisp up the skin and the best way is to remove the skin so you don’t over cook the fish!
NEVER serve soggy fish skin…it is just not glamourous and can be easily crisped up by just allowing it some alone time in the pan.
Serve with one of these amazingly versatile mash recipes!
Rustic pea purée
2 cups frozen peas
1 onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic minced
150-250ml chicken or vegetable stock (depending on thickness required…please adjust)
5ml lemon zest
Place all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and boil over a medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and blend to a smooth puree with a stick blender or manual masher.
Adjust the seasoning and thickness and then serve
Delicious yellow butterbean puree
2 tins butterbeans, drained
80ml cream/milk or water (depends on your dietary preference)
1 chicken/mushroom/vegetable stock cube or use 1 teaspoon of powder stock
2 tablespoons pecorino or Parmesan grated (optional, you can keep this clean)
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder or freshly grated
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except the oil, in a large saucepan and heat over a really low heat, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes until tender making sure that it doesn’t dry out (add more cream or water/stock if needed). Once the beans have started to break down a bit more and look more cooked, add the oil and season to taste. Either wait for these to cool and then place in a food processor, or use a hand held masher or even stick blender. Either process completely, or leave slightly chunky for a more rustic mash!
Place the sexy seared salmon or fish on the pea puree and enjoy!
With lots of culinary love
Chef Mel, The Vanilla Zulu